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39 unlawful killings carried out by Australian special force personnel in Afghanistan

By Shahzad Murad

In an official briefing on Thursday, Australia stated that they have found credible information of its special forces being responsible for illegitimately killing 39 people in Afghanistan.

An inquiry was launched in 2016 by Australia in the wake of reports from whistleblowers regarding the killings of unarmed people and children. Initially, these reports were suppressed by the press but later on, an investigation was initiated in Australia.

Stating the details of findings, General Angus Campbell chief of the Defence Force said that their investigation found credible evidence that Australian forces had been involved in killing civilians including farmers and prisoners in Afghanistan.

General Angus also offered his apologies to the people of Afghanistan for all the criminality of Australian forces. He further added, “The unlawful killing, of civilians and prisoners, is never acceptable.”

The inquiry suggested there were 23 incidents, where 25 Australian special force personnel were involved in killing 39 people.

Some of the special force personnel found responsible are still in the Australian military, while others have already left.

Stating the facts about 39 people killed James Gaynor, the inspector general of the Australian Defence Force said, “None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle,” he wrote. “The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.”

Major General Justice Paul Brereton who conducted the inquiry interviewed more than 400 witnesses. The inquiry has also presented a few more shreds of evidence stating:

There was a practice called “blooding” that had been carried out by junior soldiers, who were told to get their first kill by shooting prisoners.

Planting of weapons and other items was done near Afghan bodies to cover up numerous crimes.

Earlier President Ashraf Ghani has stated that Mr. Morrison had phoned him and expressed his condolence and sorrow over the incidents. Whereas foreign ministers of Afghanistan termed the findings as “an important step towards justice”.

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